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Are reconciliation and development possible?

In an ambitious pre-election manifesto, the Mahinda Chintana, President Rajapaksa outlined very specific and concrete goals touching on many aspects of Sri Lanka’s political economy and society – subjects included “a land of plenty,” “a disciplined and law-abiding society,” “clean water as Sri Lanka’s heritage,” “houses for all,” “electricity for everybody,” “a clean, green environment” and much more (p. 6). states in the Mahinda Chintana, “is to break the fundamentalist concepts of a traditional homeland and a separate stand and empower the citizens of this country to arrive at a peaceful political solution which would devolve power to all its citizens.”(p. 52)


Defeating LTTEterrorism | How the country could face the threat of UN war crimes inquiry

LLRC told of President Rajapaksa’s right to take military action

Senior lawyer Gomin Dayasri says the Sri Lankan government can justify its war against LTTE terror on the basis of seven principles required to establish a just war coming down from the time of eminent jurist Hugo Grotius.

Dayasri told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) last Thursday (Oct. 28) investigating the circumstances that led to the Eelam War IV how the country could face the threat of UN war crimes inquiry and a probe launched by the US.


A Texan Tamil’s Jambu-stained words hurled at the Sri Lankan President

It is with deep pain and a sense of futility that I read the seemingly well-articulated "ataappali" of my fellow Tamil George Willy in Texas, directed at President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his visit to the US.

However, as an old man who grew up during the Donoughmore era, I am probably several decades older than Willy, and heard fine speeches from the silver tongues of the Ramanathans and Ponnambalams of an earlier era. I cringe with pain because we Tamils continue to play the same tune and propagate the same myths which we collectively believe. Even some Sinhalese, the anglicized minority who read no Tamil, have begun to believe in our own grandiose speeches, where we nurse this beggar’s wound of Majority discrimination against the Tamil minority.  Here we have George Willy, with his non-Tamil name, telling us how important Thamil  is to the Tamils, even though there is not a single Tamil quotation in his speech. We are told of red stains from the "Jambu" fruit ("perunaval" in Tamil), where as the perunaval only leaves a brown stain!


Wonders! A Tamil Architect!

Having watched Jamie Metzl’s Asia Society interview with External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris, on the internet, I was left with the feeling that something was not quite right. Of course, the first thing that would strike anyone is the manner GLP fielded the questions. Both the interviewer (Metzl) and GLP acquitted themselves very well and it was a good interview by any reckoning. Metzl prefaced his interview by telling GLP that when mountain climbers clamber up the slopes of the Alps, they may at times take paths that may seem to be the best way to get to the top, but the people hanging around in the restaurants below sipping hot coffee are able to see that the climber has not taken the correct path to reach the top. That set the tone of the interview – GLP was the mountain climber who is unable to see anything but the rock face a foot away and Metzl was the relaxed coffee drinker who could guide the climber and show him the best way to get to the top of the mountain if only the climber would consent to be guided!


Questioning the Credibility of AI, HRW and the ICG

The past record of Sri Lanka’s commissions of inquiry has been so poor that ‘failure’ seems to be the predominant ‘home-grown’ quality of those commissions. Hence, there is naturally a great degree of skepticism shown when a government announces the establishment of a new commission (‘yet another commission’), even the establishment of the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC). All governments (including the present one) are responsible for this state of affairs. These were some of the critical views expressed by this writer elsewhere (and by others), when the LLRC was established. The presumption that the LLRC or other commissions are bound to fail (given the past record of commissions) is, it is admitted, a rebuttable presumption; so, the LLRC and the government can always prove their critics wrong.
Yet, the LLRC process has begun. Even though the government may be disingenuous, the members of the LLRC have so far shown that they are not. A number of groups and individuals (respected former public servants and diplomats, senior journalists etc.) have appeared before the LLRC and made very useful submissions. Some civilians who were directly affected during the last stages of the war have come forward and stated their version of what happened; about how they were held as part of a ‘human shield’ by the LTTE, but also about how the government forces carried out certain attacks. It’s within this context that an invitation to appear before the LLRC was extended to Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Crisis Group (ICG). Having raised some important issues in their joint letter, these organizations have proceeded to reject the invitation; stating that they would be pleased to appear if a "genuine and credible process" is established featuring, inter alia, "truly independent commission members."

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